Atlanta Hawks travel to Indy to play Pacers


The Atlanta Hawks bring their six-game winning streak to Indianapolis when they take on the Indiana Pacers Monday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Atlanta Hawks were the first team in the Eastern Conference to get to 20 wins with their blowout victory over the New York Knicks on Saturday night, 117-98. This was Atlanta’s sixth consecutive victory and it put them only a game back of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference.

On Monday, the Atlanta Hawks will have themselves a tough road game when they take on the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Tipoff is at 7:00 PM ET and the game will air on Fox Sports Southeast.

Indiana is currently fifth in the Eastern Conference with a 17-12 record. The Pacers are strong at home (10-4) and against the East (12-4), with three of their conference losses coming within the tough Central Division.

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Though the Atlanta Hawks did defeat their midwestern adversary all three meetings in 2014-15, this Pacers team does have its best player back at full strength in forward Paul George. However, the Indiana Pacers will play in a different style than Hawks fans have grown used to.

Under one of the better defensive minds in the NBA, head coach Frank Vogel has opted to radically change the Pacers’ defensive philosophy. Instead of using big bruisers down low like center Roy Hibbert and power forward David West, Vogel’s Pacers have fully bought into the small ball era, often using George at the four.

This series between the Atlanta Hawks and the Indiana Pacers has intensified in recent years. Atlanta and Indiana met in the first round in 2013 and 2014, both series going in the favor of the Pacers. The Atlanta Hawks’ starting point guard Jeff Teague is an Indianapolis native and usually plays some of his best basketball against the team he grew up idolizing. Outside of the Boston Celtics, this series between the Hawks and the Pacers may end up being the Hawks’ biggest non-divisional rivalry at the moment.

On this current six-game winning streak, the Atlanta Hawks have pushed themselves back into the top ten in offensive efficiency, with a team offensive rating of 105.8. However, Indiana is still a top ten defense under Vogel, with a team defensive rating of 101.3, sixth in the NBA. The Pacers are also eleventh in offensive efficiency (105.4).

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While the Atlanta Hawks seem like they are playing their best basketball of the season, we’re not sure exactly how the new-look Indiana Pacers will perform against Mike Budenholzer’s squad this season. I expect tough battles in all the head-to-head meetings this season. This seems like a real treat for basketball fans on Monday night. Let’s Go Hawks!